The Loveless Cafe (8400 Hwy. 100, 615/646-9700, daily 7 a.m.–9 p.m., $7–13) is an institution, and some may argue it’s a state of mind. But this little café-that-could is increasingly a destination too, for visitors not just to Nashville  but the entire heartland of Tennessee. The Loveless got its start in 1951 when Lon and Annie Loveless started to serve good country cooking to travelers on Highway 100. Over the years the restaurant changed hands, but Annie’s biscuit recipe remained the same, and it was the biscuits that kept Nashvillians, including many famous ones, coming back for more.
In 1982 then owner George McCabe started the Hams & Jams mail-order business, and in 2003 the Loveless underwent a major renovation that expanded the kitchen and dining rooms and added additional shops in the rear. The food at the Loveless is good, no doubt about it.
The biscuits are fluffy and buttery, the ham salty, and the eggs, bacon, and sausage will hit the spot. The supper and lunch menu has expanded to include Southern standards like fried catfish and chicken, pit-cooked pork barbecue, pork chops, and meatloaf, as well as a few salads.
The prices are a bit on the high side—a basic plate of bacon and eggs will run you at least $9—but a destination restaurant can do that. Parties of four or more can choose the family-style breakfast, which offers all the fruit, bacon, sausage, fries, gravy, eggs, biscuits, and preserves you can eat for $11 per adult and $6 per child. The Loveless is located about 20 miles from downtown Nashville ; plan on a 30-minute drive out Highway 100. Once you get out of the clutter of West End, it’s a pretty trip.